George Lucas’ 1977 film, “Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope” was light-years ahead of its time. The Star Wars movie franchise has made more than $65 billion in total revenue – with countless movies, tv shows, games, toys and more. But back in the 70s, no one – even the Star Wars cast – could have guessed just how successful the film would become.
The Star Wars Cast Back in 1977
Back in 1977, before the first movie was released, Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo) were just a crew of fresh-faced, up-and-coming stars. And no one could prepare them for the massive stardom they, along with the franchise, was on the cusp of.
The main cast of “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” ditched their lightsabers, costumes, and TIE fighters to promote the movie and take casual photos with each other in their streetwear. Pictured below (left to right) is Harrison Ford (Han Solo), David Prowse (Darth Vader), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), and (Kenny Baker (R2-D2).
Let’s take a trip further down memory lane, before all the glitz and glam, and look at more shots from that day:
Enemies no longer! Harrison, Mark and Carrie casually pose next to the Clone Troopers who they battle frequently throughout the film.
Star Wars Box Office Success
“Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope” was released on May 25, 1977. Memorial Day Weekend typically is a successful opening weekend for a film to premiere and is the start of the summer blockbuster releases. And the first Star Wars did just that. For context, the first Star Wars film had a budget of $11 million. The film ended up earning $461 million dollars in US ticket sales and $775 million worldwide. Not only was the sci-fi action-adventure a success with audiences, but critics adored it! The film received 10 Academy Award nominations and won seven (including Best Sound, Best Visual Effects, and Best Original Score).
The film even started a tradition among Hollywood film directors in which they ended each other congratulatory notes when they pass box office records.
What Is Going On with the Star Wars Franchise Now?
Years later, Star Wars has become a larger-than life, pop culture phenomenon. It has made its way from just nerd fandoms to mainstream praise. Walt Disney Company bought LucasFilms and the rights to Star Wars back in 2012, and have since made three film trilogies, two solo spin-off films and a handful of animated and live action shows including “The Mandalorian”, “The Book of Boba Fett”, and “Andor.”